Euro 2012: England Fans Enduring 'Horrendous' Journeys In Ukraine

Posted: Updated:
Print Article
ENGLAND FANS
England fans, (top left) Andy Key, (top right) Grant Heywood 25, (bottom left to right) Chris Morgan 27, Martin Cookson 20, Andrew Kucper 25, Sean Kiernan, 24 on the sleeper train from Kiev to Donetsk, Ukraine | PA

England supporters who are enduring "horrendous" journeys in Ukraine have called on their team to play entertaining football.

Much was made of the travelling required by Roy Hodgson's squad after the Euro 2012 schedule required them to play their first and third games in Donetsk, either side of a match in Kiev.

But while Wayne Rooney and his teammates stay in luxurious hotels and fly to matches, hundreds of their supporters are forced to travel on third-class overnight trains to make the trip affordable.

After watching England's thrilling 3-2 victory over Sweden, a number of fans purchased third-class tickets on 12-hour sleeper trains from Kiev to Donetsk to see them face Ukraine.

Fans claimed the service - which costs the equivalent of £9 per person - was an affordable way of travelling 450 miles but did not guarantee much sleep.

A group of six friends from Preston said they would clock up a total of 50 hours on four overnight train journeys during the tournament.

During last night's trip the men played cards to pass the time before the lights went out. But while many of the natives appeared to enjoy a long sleep, the England fans remained awake for a number of reasons.

Martin Cookson, 20, was still tucked up in his bunk as the 18-carriage train arrived at Donetsk.

"It would have cost hundreds of pounds to fly. But I got two hours sleep, if that. It was too hot and now I feel horrendous," he said.

Bleary-eyed Andrew Kucper, 25, said he got no sleep at all.

He said: "It's the noise. People were going in and out of the toilet.

"I don't feel refreshed but at least we're almost there. It can't put me off because I know we've got to do it again."

Chris Morgan, 27, added: "We never get a full night's sleep. I slept for the odd hour. The problem is the bed is a bit too short. I curled up but it wasn't comfortable."

He said they would be upset if the players they are travelling to watch gave the type of lifeless performance witnessed at the 2010 World Cup.

"We've spent a lot of money and done all this travelling, so we'd be pretty angry if it was a repeat of South Africa," he said.

Neil Winfield and Simon Walker came from Ellesmere Port, Cheshire, to watch England at the tournament.

The avid England fans, who have been all over the world in support of the Three Lions, said they were onboard the train because it was how the natives travel.

As a smartly-dressed conductor passed through the carriage taking orders for beer, Mr Winfield, 48, said: "The locals travel by train, so that's what we do.

"You save time because the journey is overnight and you also save on a night's accommodation as well. The trains are historical. I've never been on anything like this before."

Mr Walker, 47, said goalkeeper Joe Hart's salute to the crowd after the final whistle in the Sweden game went down well with the travelling supporters.

"It means everything because he shows he's passionate and he appreciates the effort we've put in to be here," he said.

Mr Walker claimed he did not begrudge the England players flying to matches in under two hours from their base in Krakow, Poland.

"Planes are okay if you're rich, but for the normal fan this is the way. I don't expect them to slum it like us," he said as he tucked in his sheets on the bottom bunk.

He added that he did not feel the time and money spent on the trip should be rewarded with a trophy, but he wanted to be entertained.

"I wouldn't mind if we played well and went out. I've travelled all this way hoping to see good football. I don't want to see us grind out 1-0 wins," Mr Walker said.

England require at least a point to continue their Euro 2012 journey at the Donbass Arena on Tuesday night.